Where One Sailor Stands Alone
Lone Sailor Orlando
Standing in the shadow of one of the country's most famous vacation destinations, a robust Sailor gazes out toward a field where hundreds of thousands of Sailors have stood before him.
This "Lone Sailor" is reminiscent of the men and women who once marched in step on the grinder and stood with their heads held high, reveling in the joy that boot camp graduations often bring.
More than fifty million people visit Orlando each year to enjoy attractions such as Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld. But for many men and women, this city is more than theme parks and attractions: It's a Navy town, the springboard to their naval careers.
"The city of Orlando really loves the U.S. Navy," said retired Capt. Andy Mohler, co-chairman, Lone Sailor Memorial Committee. "They have always honored the traditions in the fact that this was a Navy town and still is a Navy town."
Naval Training Center Orlando was built on the grounds of a World War II Army Air Corps base. Commissioned July 1, 1968, NTC and its primary tenant command, Recruit Training Command, trained and educated generations of naval recruits.
"The establishment of NTC/RTC marked the city as a 'Navy Town,'" said retired Senior Chief Petty Officer Mike Phillips, who has close ties to the Orlando community. "This was a point of pride in a very patriotic part of the country. NTC/RTC brought in thousands of recruits a month, and an appropriately sized senior staff to train them."
Over a 30-year span, more than 652,000 Sailors graduated from RTC, while officers, non-commissioned officers and civilian personnel worked, trained and lived near the base, bringing revenue and naval culture to landlocked Orange County, Florida.
It was very important for 30 years as recruit training camp. It was a major part of the cultural fabric, as well as the economic fabric, of Orlando." - Andy Mohler